A Burger King tweet advertising the sale of milkshakes, which happened to coincide with footage of someone tipping the viscous liquid over Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, has been banned for legitimising anti-social behaviour.
The tweet was posted during the heat of European election campaigning earlier this year when the global brand made a splash by writing: 'Dear People of Scotland. We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun'
This followed a spate of dairy dunking around the country which left former Ukip leader shaken twice in two days while out on the campaign trail. Amid this volatile atmosphere, an Edinburgh branch of McDonald’s was requested by police to cease the sale of milkshakes during a visit by Farage to the city.
Following several complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Burger King defended the timing and focus of its tweet as a "tongue-in-cheek reaction to recent events" but this argument didn’t wash with the regulator, which labelled the communication as "irresponsible".
The post drew 24 complaints from members of the public in all, alarmed that the message would spark a wave of copycat offences, despite a follow-up message from Burger King which read: “We'd never endorse violence - or wasting our delicious milkshakes. So enjoy the weekend and please drink responsibly people.”
Explaining its decision the ASA wrote: "Although we acknowledged that the tweet may have been intended as a humorous response to the suspension of milkshake sales by the advertiser's competitor, in the context in which it appeared we considered it would be understood as suggesting that Burger King milkshakes could be used instead by people to 'milkshake' Nigel Farage.
"We considered the ad therefore condoned the previous anti-social behaviour and encouraged further instances. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible."
Burger King has established itself as a provocative voice through a series of hard hitting ads served up with a side dish of social commentary.